tv Headline News RT May 7, 2013 8:00pm-8:31pm EDT
with. coming up on r t while the crisis in syria deepens a u.s. senator is pushing a bill to arm syrian rebels how likely is this bill to pass and what would its effects be on the conflict we'll talk about that in just a moment a secret government report on the u.s. torture program is being kept out of the public's hands critics say that that is because the obama administration is trying to protect its bruised reputation so when will the secrets come to light that's ahead congress is in session so what are lawmakers doing on capitol hill this week they've passed an internet sales tax and are now focusing on immigration reform a report from the hill later in the show. it's
tuesday may seventh eight pm in washington d.c. i'm mega lopez and you are watching our t.v. now before we get to today's top stories let me explain the ribbon that i am wearing today along with my other our colleagues this week marks the anniversary of nazi germany surrendering to the soviet union officially marking the end of world war two in europe so that is why we wear it to commemorate the enormous sacrifices humanity made to overcome oppression to remind ourselves of the millions of people who actually stare genocide into in the face and to celebrate the fact that nations around the world came together to try and over tyranny. we begin tonight actually with the latest information coming out of syria president bashar al assad now says that the israeli air strikes on syria over the weekend amounts to a declaration of war and he warns that only options are on the table for retaliation this opens up the possibility for of the for the violence raging in syria to cross the border and transition into
a regional conflict yesterday the white house commented on the israeli air strikes on syria saying weapon transfers to hezbollah are of concern they went on to say that israel has a right to quote defend their own as sovereign interests meanwhile senate foreign relations committee chairman robert menendez has introduced legislation that would arm syrian opposition groups but the will goes further than that it would also provide military training as well as non-lethal aid to rebel groups that have been vetted and senator menendez is not alone in his demands for action senator john mccain and numerous republicans are also calling for an american response this proposed legislation to back the rebels comes at an interesting time during this conflict and that's because a leading member of the united nations' independent commission of inquiry on syria told swiss t.v. on monday that there is evidence suggesting that rebel forces and not president assad's army might have been the ones using chemical weapons the un distance itself
from those remarks saying that they have not yet reached a conclusive evidence on the use of chemical weapons in syria so obviously a lot of information is unfolding in the country right now to help break it all down our to correspondent on a stasia chair going to join me earlier from new york and i first asked her to tell me what came out of the talks today between john kerry and his russian counterpart sergey lavrov. well that may get us certainly what came out of the talks was quite unexpected in a sense because while the war drums are beating here in the united states with certain lawmakers proposing bills that would indicate following steps of u.s. heavy involvement in syria we did hear more lighter talk come out of these negotiations in moscow earlier today basically what we heard was that. john kerry has said that the u.s. and russia have similar positions on the syrian crisis and that they both believe
the two countries that sold the syrian crisis everybody needs to stick to the geneva communiqué road map for creating a transitional government in syria which was outlined in june last year and both russia and the united states according to kerry and lavrov believe that this is still the most tangible way of trying to come up with a solution in syria and they're both of basically are saying that the opposition in the syrian government need to create a transitional government that would manage affairs on the ground and this hopefully according to them only negotiations would put a solution to events unraveling there now obviously both the u.s. and russia have to look at this situation being the most powerful countries that have influence over in syria and really consider what they can do in terms of an international response to this crisis was there any indication of other than negotiations of what could possibly happen to be happening and it was there any indication of secretary kerry getting russia on the same page as at the as the u.s.
at this point no megan certainly at this point to go she are all we have outlined is the least of this meeting in moscow that's all they've kind of come out to see that they do believe that negotiations are the only way to dealing with this crisis certainly the u.s. and russia do remain split on whether or not there should. change should occur on the ground of course the united states believes that to be the case russia doesn't but from what we heard today they still believe that this road map. existing one of a transition government is the key to achieving success on the ground now obviously secretary kerry is in moscow right now and talking about all these different aspects of the crisis in syria back here at home as i had mentioned senator robert menendez actually made this proposal legislation to possibly armed rebel troops on the ground that have been vetted can you talk about the timing of this proposed bill with the israeli airstrikes this past weekend and also that u.n.
inquiry that we've been talking about saying that those chemical weapons might have been used by syrian rebels and not the syrian government. megan the timing is very curious in the sense that there are so many different positions existing on the on the situation right now we have lavrov and kerry talking about negotiations we have u.s. lawmakers suggesting you know getting involved more heavily on the ground we do know that there's been a ton of finger pointing surrounding whether or not it was the syrian government that had used chemical weapons in the crisis whether it was the opposition that had used chemical weapons certainly a lot of finger pointing certainly the situation is at a boiling point and this particular bill what it does is kind of pushes for further u.s. involvement specifically suggest that two hundred fifty million dollar fund be created for the transition process to speed up the transition process on the ground but also calls for us to provide arms and military training and non-lethal aid in syria to the opposition groups as well as would basically if it were to come through and
be approved become a law that washington would have the right to impose sanctions on individuals providing oil and arms to the syrian government but this is only in its first stages this has to go through the committee itself and then this is the senate and the house of representatives to be signed by obama so we're going to have to wait and see if that happens and that would mean a new push a unilateral push from the u.s. an honest a lot of the critics of this bill and of the idea of intervention in syria actually have said that there is first of all no way to be able to vet these rebels and figure out which ones are actually going to send that money that fund money to al qaeda we know some of them are actually linked with al qaeda so there's a lot of questions but let me ask you this there is also a number of safety nets for the syrian country for the u.s. not to be involved there's the u.n. for instance in the security council there's also the arab league so can you talk about the safety nets and also possibly talk about the fact that the u.s.
is the one that is saying we might need to step up. well that's the u.s. and its kind of western allies definitely trying to kind of push more action at this point but it's you know we still have to keep in mind that it's very split opinions it's lawmakers it's people who are actually dealing with the syrian crisis directly and certainly their safety nets in the u.n. has been a major one leg in this particular scenario because of russia and china blocking u.s. attempts to intervene in syria more heavily this is not been the case and it seems like this is a position that's going to stick around so while the united nations exist the united nations security council the u.s. is not going to be able to just plow through any international collaboration without getting others involved are to correspondent on a stasia charkha reporting from new york well the new criticism of the cia as well as president obama is coming out fresh this week that's because both are dragging their feet on the impending release of a six thousand page review of the u.s. torture program now the review was ordered back during the days when president
george w. bush was still in office and was finally completed last year remember the day when a rather and namor president obama promised to end torture first i can say without exception or equivocation that the united states will not torture. yes that is true he did and the us torture program however he is now working very hard to protect the secrets of that program and the doings of his predecessor the fact is that six million documents have been reviewed and many of them indicate a single disturbing truth that torture tactics did not produce the intelligence that led american forces to osama bin ladin and this information isn't even scratching the surface but once again lawmakers and the public are playing the waiting game and to supporting the day when the full length report will actually come to light so what is taking so long to answer that i was joined earlier by an investigative journalist with. marcy wheeler marcy's latest article was featured in
salon and it's called why is obama withholding secret torture report from americans and i began by asking her just what we do know so far about the six thousand page document. i think that the three important points are one contrary to claims torture did not lead to osama bin laden to torture really didn't provide us much useful intelligence generally and three the last one the cia was misrepresenting what was going on to congress to the department of justice and even to the white house so you know a lot of the claims a lot of the claims that say d.o.j. approval were based on were in fact false then i think that's a really important point not just for the torture program but for cia oversight generally now marci in my beginning i have talked about the fact that it is taking forever to release this report what is taking it so long well it was approved in
december and originally of the cia was supposed to kind of come back to the senate intelligence committee on february fifteenth to complain or give any complete concerns it had about declassifying it at precisely that time john brennan was being confirmed to be director of cia and he didn't read it before the confirmation hearings he just read the introductory volume. he afterwards has been saying well i need to read it now i need to read it there are indications that cia is going back to wants to go back to this an intelligence report committee and say you did it wrong you shouldn't have followed the cables the cia's own documents about what happened with torture you should have instead interviewed the torturers and asked them what they thought. and and also the white house is conducting a review apparently of so basically i think it's it's stalling in the review
particularly given the cia in which they're you know they're using it as an opportunity to dispute the findings and as i mentioned the cia a stalling it and also people say that the obama administration is working to slow it down or. list there are certainly not helping us speed the process up more quickly you contend in your salon piece that the white house is trying to protect itself rather than the cia how so well people often forget that the torture program actually was based on presidential authorization it goes back to september two thousand and one when george bush signed what's called a finding and a memorandum of notification authorizing the torture program so for at least four months after we started torturing there was no approval from d.o.j. it was just the president's ok and that's when a lot of the evil stuff went on and i think that the obama administration has actually gone out of their way to protect the evidence that the white house was
actually behind the torture program and clearly this report is either going to show that the white house didn't know what they had ordered up with the torture program or it's going to show that the white house actually directly authorized torture which was illegal and you know i think at the very least i mean he may be protecting obama excuse me he may be protecting bush but he also may be protecting institution of the presidency and its ability to continue to authorize these covert program are they adequate oversight should we really be all that surprised that the president isn't quick to have this purport released i mean after all this is making him talking about the previous administration's potential illegal activities shortly after his election. right i mean you know obama came in and said i'm going to end torture but what he's not going to and is the authority of the president to order these covert operations torture is act would be authorization for torture is actually the same authorization that obama used and probably is still using for
targeted killings for the drone program so he doesn't want to lose that authority to engage in these covert operations with with inadequate oversight now and back in two thousand and nine president obama talked about looking forward as opposed to looking backward let's play that obviously we're going to be looking at past practices. and don't believe that anybody has but the law on the other hand i also have a belief that we need to look forward as lows as opposed to looking looking backwards but marcy my question to you is is it possible to look forward without examining what happened in the past well do you know i think that's what obama really wants to do but eventually the international community is going to look backwards if we don't hear and we're going to lose credibility in refusing to hold torturers accountable here is there any rely on idea of what future consequences this release
could have. you know the obama administration. pretended or investigated some of the torturers they investigated to as a death due to torture they investigated the cover up of torture with the torture tape destruction and they chose not to charge anyone but again i mean one of the only cases where a cia person has been charged in assault case going back to afghanistan in two thousand and three that d.j. wouldn't permit that person a guy by the name of david passaro to have all of the documents that show torture was approved from the president on down there are little i mean not sort of what they're hiding there are still a lot of questions we're going to have to wait for this doctor to come out but who knows when that will be marcy wheeler investigative reporter at mt we'll dot net thanks while the british royal air force has reached new heights this week the u.k. conducted its first ever drone strike from british soil that is to say from
a drone control center in washington before all zone operations were remotely controlled from an american base in nevada the british forest the u.s. and into nine reaper drones to support its troops in afghanistan's helmand province or to international correspondent sara force has more. well the world's military drones used to be directed from a small u.s. base in nevada but no more after the k carried out its first joint strike in afghanistan launched from u.k. soil and in our us base in lincolnshire not many official details have been released about the drone strike in north many likely to be given the level of secrecy surrounding british drone yes the ministry of defense have confirmed that one of their recruitment is controlled by pilots from thirteen squadron at r e f washington in lincolnshire fired a weapon supporting u.k. treats on the ground in afghanistan now this is caused huge concern amongst anti
joint campaign is at a recent pretty testing in the u.k. the organizers had said that they see this is a sign that there will be civilian casualties as a result of drawing us and also the politicians would make it easier for them to be able to carry out military intervention now certainly many have seen this is a sign that this youth in control of advanced train technology has now spread far beyond us indeed personalising has invested more than three billion dollars that's about thirty billion pounds in joint development and there are plans to further expand is driving us to know now the control to see surrounding these two joins is highlighted again at the beginning of this year when the un launched an investigation looking at the extent of civilian casualties but also the legality surrounding joining us now research team from london university are assisting them in that investigation and their findings again to be presented to the un general
assembly in the autumn and based on what they find they could then recommend that further action be taken as we're seeing this increase going he said with the u.k. having launched its first strike is proving ever more important to many campaign is that the legality and the questions say the joining us now is just properly in a clear and apron arena. that was r t international correspondent sara firth. ok so two peace activists and a nun walk into a nuclear energy complex sounds like the beginning of a bad joke right but that is exactly what happened last year and now the trio is facing a slew of charges for everything from sabotage to the destruction of federal property sixty four year old michael wally fifty seven year old greg board g o bad and eighty three year old nun meghan rice broke into a secure facility where enrich uranium for nuclear bombs is stored. offense at the
white twelve national security complex in oak ridge tennessee back in july and then walked around for hours spray painting slogans and taking hammers to the facility walls as a result federal officials say they were forced to shut down that facility for fifteen days a delay prosecutors claim damages america's credibility in terms of nuclear deterrence now just a short time after this break occurred a break in occurred an energy department inspector general report actually found quote troubling displays of ineptitude at that complex officials at the facility were reassigned security shortfalls were remedied and the plants returned to the state of normalcy that you see today the trial for these three peace activists is still in its beginning days but the question remains if three similarly harmless people were able to shut down the facility for over two weeks what is stopping people with more nefarious interests from putting american lives at risk. still
ahead here on r t congress is in session so what are lawmakers doing this week on capitol hill well they passed internet sales taxes and are now focusing on immigration reform a report from capitol hill coming up. pretty dumb the feel good luck you won't find it here if you're looking for relevant stories unique perspective from time plus. ten dollars. is it possible to now the economy with all the details of his diction information and media hype will keep you up to date by decoding the mainstream headlines stating it's in your mind.
well there is a saying in washington that the senate is the place for legislation goes to die will soon discover whether or not that saying will actually ring true with immigration reform today senators are expecting to actually submit more than one hundred amendments to the senate judiciary committee in an effort to change the bipartisan immigration reform bill but the so-called gang of eight agreed upon that last month many of these amendments have one intended purpose kill the bill meaning immigration reform could be just a mine is in the senate in a way similar to gun control meanwhile there is one bill that didn't die in the
senate the online sales tax bill also known as the marketplace fairness act of twenty thirteen now that bill was passed by a wide majority of republicans and democrats on monday evening and is now making its way to the house but not everyone is happy with this new sales tax bill and its prospects for passage in the house are still razor thin. however just the fact that it was able to pass through the senate alone while gun control died and immigration reform still has an uncertain future really does say something about how capitol hill works today for more on what's happening on the hill political commentator sam sacks so this will be a critical week on capitol hill for the immigration reform bill that heads to the senate judiciary committee and that committee is expected to look at hundreds of amendments many of which are aimed specifically at killing the bill also a big question of whether or not republicans will line up and support the bill giving president obama legislative victory you might remember during the gun
control debate a few weeks ago when when background checks failed one of the republican senators leading the effort for these background checks senator toomey blamed his fellow republican colleagues for the bill failing saying that they just couldn't muster up enough courage to give the president a legislative victory so we'll see if this kind of strain of thought. leads to immigration reform being killed as well to complicate matters we have a new study out the heritage foundation yesterday headed by former senator jim de mint appears to be trying to kill immigration reform to saying that the bill's going to cost over six trillion dollars and one of the leading republican senators pushing for immigration reform senator marco rubio came out today criticizing the study saying it doesn't take into account a lot of economic factors that will actually boost g.d.p. growth and actually lower the cost of the bill and moving on to the online sales tax bill which passed out of the senate yesterday that's going to head to the house where its prospects for passing right now are dim the house speaker of the house
john boehner today said that it's not very high on the priority list to pass this bill and also there's still a lot of opposition in the house that doesn't quite exist in the senate for this bill for one there's a lot of anti-tax advocates and the americans for tax reform the grover norquist crowd is a lot more power in the house and they have in the senate and they're not too pleased with this bill either there's also democrats who aren't pleased with this bill. last night senator ron wyden democratic senator who voted against the bill spoke out saying it's going to put undue burden is on small businesses the president today the senate is voting on whether to take a few more inches off the little guy with this vote for the so-called marketplace fairness fact what you have is big business is being given the ability to force here first mind you new regulations on kids the startups to prove the point if you look at the industries that were
lobbying for this bill you have wal-mart you have target you have amazon you have some of the biggest retailers in the country pushing for this bill so there must be something there for why why they want this and they say that it's because they want to close a tax loophole it just so happens to be the one tax loophole that they can't take advantage of so here we have it online tax bill that just passed in the senate we have gun control that died a few weeks ago we have immigration reform that's headed for a bumpy road and when you're trying to figure out why certain legislation passes of the senate and why certain legislation doesn't it's good to look at the backers the online sales tax bill have lots of well funded corporate backers behind it these other bills don't seem to have them another day on capitol hill same sex. after he lost the two thousand presidential election in a contentious and historic runoff al gore became the major face in the fight against climate change the film an inconvenient truth even documents his campaign
to inform the public about this dangerous trend but how far our course concerns really going after the environmental at troops the residents laurie harshness has the skinny on this king of the green. allegories brandy brought us the movie inconvenient truth he is the man who was hugely responsible for the awareness of climate change and in a recent interview with bloomberg television he said that american democracy has been hacked by the influence of money in politics i am totally behind getting money out of politics and making corporations act responsibly unfortunately i'm not so
sure al gore is really behind that sentiment you see al gore helped start the t.v. network current t.v. in two thousand and four this year he sold it to al jazeera and pocketed seventy million bucks personally from the sale of al-jazeera is largely funded by qatar a country that largely makes its money from oil you know that thing we keep burning that al gore says is changing the climate and doing the planet. he also holds an undisclosed number of shares of the occidental petroleum corporation which is reported to be valued somewhere around a million dollars and he flies around the globe and jets powered by lots and lots of fuel to give speeches for which he charges one hundred seventy five thousand bucks apiece. in two thousand and four gore and a former goldman sachs director co-founded an investment fund called generation
investment management the fund is supposed to incorporate sustainability into its investment approach the fund has about eight point five billion dollars in assets under management which include holdings in procter and gamble and colgate palmolive packaged goods giants now the green company it does have some green investments but is known to sell them off if they don't turn a profit quickly enough in two thousand and seven the tennessee center for policy research published gore's national poll new utility bill showing that it used almost two hundred and twenty one thousand kilowatt hours in two thousand and six alone that's twenty times the national average household consumption and that's just one of those homes he has several and they are all very large all told al gore is worth over two hundred million dollars and not all that money is so very
green he's pretty much as rich as mitt romney the guy everyone said was so rich that he was out of touch with real people. being someone who doesn't covet money or appreciate corruption i agree with the sentiment voiced recently about how too much money is corrupting our government but let's all just remember that that applies to everyone who makes hundreds of millions of dollars working a corrupt system whether they're coming at it from the right or from the very right just blind green left tonight let's talk about that by following me on twitter at the resident. all right and that's going to do it for me for tonight but for more on the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r t america check out our web site r t dot com slash the usa and don't forget to follow me on twitter at meghan underscore